Steel

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 1983.

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Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Southend East 12:00 am, 14th March 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a further statement on the position of the steel industry.

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

I have nothing at present to add to the statement which I made about the British Steel Corporation on 20 December last year.

Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Southend East

Since that date, has my right hon. Friend been aware of any progress in persuading the continental countries of the European Community to make cuts in manpower and production similar to those that Britain has made? Does he agree that it would be outrageous if we were to make further cuts when, on the continent, no similar progress and no similar move has been made by EC countries, which in some instances have been increasing their production and capacity, instead of slashing it as we have done?

Photo of Mr Patrick Jenkin Mr Patrick Jenkin , Redbridge Wanstead and Woodford

I can assure my hon. Friend that I have lost no opportunity to impress on the Commission and on my opposite numbers in other Governments that there is a need to match capacity and demand and that this will require them to make substantial cuts in their capacity. I am sure that my hon. Friend will have read the three wise men's report on the German industry. The Commission has received proposals from the French Government for cuts in capacity that are not out of line with those that we have already made. At a recent meeting with the Italian Industry Minister I received an assurance from him that there would be substantial cuts in the private sector in steel in Italy. The problem remains with the public sector in Italy. I shall continue to press this issue on Foreign Ministers in the Italian Government.